Despite living abroad, Filipino-Italian Angelo Reyes, an actor and director, has always wanted to touch base with his Filipino roots.
“I’ve always wanted to come here,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bulletin Entertainment. “I think this is the perfect time to do so. I want to discover more about my Filipino culture.”
He hopes to pursue a career in Philippine show business. He has written a story set here.
“The story happens in Mindanao. It’s a crime story. Hopefully, I get to finish soonest time possible,” he said.
“Also I want to act. Anything that will be given to me, whatever genre they want to put me in, I’m okay.”
Angelo’s father hails from Angono, Rizal, while his mother is Italian.
The actor grew up in Italy ’till age 10 then moved to the US. Angelo graduated from Salem High and Old Dominion University with a degree in marketing and advertising.
His career in the entertainment industry began with a stint as producer and host of the “Street Vision Garage.” He also produced automotive lifestyle events, and co-produced “Racers And Tuners,” an automotive interest program about fast cars that aired on Discovery Channel.
Wanting more, Angelo would commute from Virgina Beach to New York City on weekends for acting school.
He appeared in films as “Heartless,” “Revolution,” “Killing Kennedy,” “The Possession Experiement,” “Mockingbird,” and “Dogs Of Chinatown”; and on TV series such as “The Haves And The Haves Nots,” “Company Town,” The Cell,” “Precint 757,” and “A Haunting,” among others.
Why did he start directing?
“It’s so I can have control of my content,” he said. “I don’t want to be typecast in romance films. I want to do movies with huge impact to the viewers; something that would open their eyes to real human struggles.”
And so comes “Groomed,” his directorial debut. Angelo revealed he got the idea for the story about human trafficking upon watching the new.
“I have been acting and producing for quite some time and I became inspired to write, direct my own project. I wasn’t sure what my first project would be and what topic I should cover so I prayed about it,” he shared. “When I watched the news, I was so surprised. One victim had even married their trafficker. I couldn’t believe it could happen. I didn’t know much about human trafficking, so I started to do research and what I found was shocking. This intrigued me, and I started to dig deeper.”
“Groomed” is a short film that tells the story of Maria. Frustrated with her mother’s seemingly overbearing concern, she runs to the arms of an older man who pays her attention and promises her love, if she will do just one thing. Maria realizes too late that what she thought was love was a ploy for control until a chance encounter changes everything.
It is based on the life of sex trafficking survivor turned advocate and producer Tanya Gould.
“I learned that human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that violates the victim’s rights. It was really devastating and I feel the importance of telling such story,” he said. “It took me a while to put together the message that I wanted to convey. I spent three years meeting and spending time with survivors to culminate enough information to develop what you will see in the film.
“All of the aspects (of the film) were a challenge. I had to find the right cast to play but I made sure I won’t show too much of rape or scenes. I wanted to highlight how traffickers look like ordinary and approachable people who prey on vulnerable men and women.”
Angelo said “Groomed” is just the first of many human struggle stories he plans to do in the future.
“I want to ignite emotions and awareness,” he said.